Polonia Aero Officially Opens Cold Flow Turbine Test Facility in Zielonka
Zielonka (Poland), November 3, 2015 - Polonia Aero today announced the official opening of one of the world’s largest and most advanced cold flow turbine test laboratories: a unique example of fruitful cooperation between industry and universities, the project combines Polish scientific capabilities and innovation in the aerospace industry.
The Cold Flow Turbine Test Facility is a high-profile project established by Polonia Aero, which is a scientific-industrial company comprising Avio Aero, the industrial partner, the Warsaw-based Military Aircraft Works No. 4 (Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze nr 4), together with the Military University of Technology (Wojskowa Akademia Techniczna) and the Warsaw University of Technology (Politechnika Warszawska). It is designed to conduct industrial research and development activities in the aerospace industry, including the testing of low-pressure turbines for aircraft.
Avio Aero, a GE Aviation business specialized in the design, production and maintenance of components and systems for the civil and military aviation industry, is the main initiator and project leader of Polonia Aero, and provides part of the financing and know-how to the project. A significant share of the investment—PLN 160.4 million—comes from EU funds and PLN 28.4 million is financed from the Polish state budget. The facility occupies an area of 3.5 ha and is an asset contributed by Military Aircraft Works No. 4, a leading Polish state-owned enterprise that specializes in overhauling turbine engines. The Military University of Technology and the Warsaw University of Technology have contributed their scientific capabilities, professional expertise and technical knowledge in the field of aviation and engineering. Each shareholder brings its own exceptional qualities, without which the project would not exist, and provides the necessary resources for the project, particularly access to highly qualified staff, modern equipment and infrastructure.
The Cold Flow Test Facility is a strategic asset to enhance the technological level of the aeroengines. In 2016, Polonia Aero will be running tests under the Polish technological program Innolot, at the same time verifying the fulfillment of the GE9X Low Pressure Turbine efficiency targets. GE9X is the new generation engine that will power the Boeing 777X, and Avio Aero has responsibility for its entire low-pressure turbine module.
The first cold flow testing activities in Zielonka will be performed on the GEnx low-pressure turbine.
“This project is a great opportunity for the aerospace industry and a prime example of cooperation between private companies and universities,” said Giacomo Vessia, President of Polonia Aero Ltd. “The laboratory will be opened to both research centers and industry partners worldwide. All companies will have access to the research infrastructure and will be able to test their turbines and prototypes. In addition, students of technical universities will be able to gain experience in one of the most innovative R&D centers in the world and thus acquire practical knowledge during research activities and experiments: an open formula which is unusual for this type of scientific unit.”
“Polonia Aero project is a great example of effective spending of EU funds which combines industry and science. That is perfectly aligned with the strategies of development promoted by European Commission – said Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. We should be proud that these modern and innovative centers are established here in Poland and will serve the development of Polish science and modern industry”.
One of the main goals of testing is to curtail fuel consumption in the aerospace industry, as well as the polluting emissions that go with it, and to reduce noise levels. The aerodynamic conditions of the turbines in the facility are similar to those that occur in-flight, but at lower temperatures, hence the designation “cold flow”. The testing mechanism is relatively simple: air drawn from the outside environment is compressed and heated up to 375°C before being thrust at a maximum flow rate of 80 kg/s towards the low-pressure turbine to be tested. Monitoring the airflow inside the turbine—with meticulously configured and controlled conditions—enables testers to observe and assess its reactions, validate numeric models and define areas for improvement.